A British-Asian Conservative parliamentary candidate has called on the Tories to secure the support of the Asian community if the party is to have any chance of winning a majority at the 2015 general election.
Afzal Amin, a former British Army officer, told the Huffington Post that many ethnic minority voters still considered the Conservatives as a “racist party” because the party had “failed” to reach out to British Asians.
“We need to further improve, as the population changes, how we communicate,” he said.
“We need to recognise that people like me … we are not foreigners, we are not immigrants, we haven’t come from somewhere else, we are from here. The party needs to speak to us as British people and not as people from abroad.”
“We may have healthier tans but we are British through and through. The party needs to change significantly how it relates to black and minority people.”
Amin said that among ethnic minority voters in his West Midlands constituency of Dudley North, “the general perception is that the Conservative party is a racist party”
Mr Amin, who is currently attempting to win back Dudley North from Labour, pointed to the controversial “Go Home or Face Arrest” campaign targeting illegal immigrants as a classic example of a “communication failure” by the Tories.
“It communicates to British people who had come here after WWII that somewhere they weren’t welcome,” he said.
Mr Amin added that in order to gain the votes of minorities, the Tories needed to engage with them and have “much more of a presence” in those communities.
The Conservatives have long been considered the “anti-immigrant” party by many migrants who have traditionally voted Labour.
According to the HuffPost, the Conservative Party won just 16% of the ethnic minority vote at the 2010 general election although representation is improving: in 2005 a total of two Tory MP’s were from an ethnic minority background.
Five years later that number had risen to 11.